A stripped wheel stud can be a real headache. It’s a problem that can occur when the threads on the stud that attach the wheel to the hub have been damaged or have become worn. It can happen because the lug nuts have been over-tightened when the tyre has been changed, or simply from the stress of driving over uneven or rough roads for any length of time.
How do you know if a wheel stud has been stripped?
There are a number of signs that a wheel stud may be stripped. These include:
Loose Lug Nuts
If the lug nuts will not properly tighten or still seem loose even after being tightened, this may be a sign that the threads on the wheel studs have been damaged.
Vibrating or wobbling wheels
Wobbling or vibrating wheels when the vehicle is in motion may be an indication that the wheel is not properly secured. This may be due to damaged lug nuts.
Inability to torque lug nuts to the correct torque
The correct torque value for each vehicle will be specified by the vehicle manufacturer. If a lug nut cannot be torqued to the correct torque it may be a symptom of a stripped wheel stud.
Often damaged or worn threads can be seen on the wheel studs with the visible eye.
Noise while driving
A clunking, rattling or squeaking noise while driving may indicate that the wheel is not securely attached to the hub. The cause of this may be a stripped wheel stud.
Can you drive an HGV or commercial vehicle with a stripped wheel stud?
Often, drivers will first become aware that they may have a problem with their wheel stud while driving. If so, it’s generally recommended that the problem is investigated as quickly as possible. Driving with a stripped-wheel stud can potentially be dangerous. Wheel studs help to secure the wheel to the hub, and if the threads on the wheel stud are stripped this can be compromised.
If the wheel isn’t properly attached to the hub it may vibrate or wobble, leading to a loss of driver control. A stripped wheel stud may also mean loose lug nuts, which runs the risk of a wheel coming detached while the vehicle is in motion.
When you drive HGV or commercial vehicles with a stripped wheel stud it can lead to further damage. A loose wheel will put additional stress on the suspension and the steering components. If these parts become damaged over time, further repairs will be required, leading to greater maintenance costs and a vehicle that could be out of action.
If you suspect you have a stripped wheel stud it’s important to investigate the problem as quickly as possible. Failure to do so can result in a serious risk to the driver and the other road users.
How do you remove a stripped wheel stud?
Removing a stripped wheel stud can be a challenging task and it’s generally recommended that it’s carried out by an experienced mechanic. There are a few different methods that can be used, depending on the severity of the damage and the tools that are available. It’s always important to proceed with caution so as not to cause further damage to other component parts.
One of the simplest and quickest means to remove a stripped wheel stud is with a stud extractor. This is designed for removing stripped wheel studs and consists of a slide hammer and a set of jaws. These grip the stud firmly, and the slide hammer is then used to apply force to the stud and pull it out.
If you don’t have a stud extractor available, it’s possible to use a drill. A hole is drilled into the end of the stripped wheel stud into which a bolt extractor can then be screwed. Once securely in place, the bolt extractor can be used to extract the wheel stud.
Another method, and one that needs to be carried out carefully, is to use a hammer and chisel. You will need to make small cuts to the wheel stud, and then use the hammer to gently tap out the wheel stud.
Finally, if only a small part of the stud is exposed and access is proving difficult, it’s possible to weld a nut to the wheel stud. Once in place, you can then use a wrench to remove the wheel stud from the hub.
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